Oral surgeon appealing judgment
MacIntyre says illness caused by renovations
Duncan F. MacIntyre appealing Supreme Court of Nova Scotia judgment rejecting his claims that his health was damaged by heavy metals released during renovations.
SYDNEY — Oral surgeon Duncan F. MacIntyre is appealing a Supreme Court of Nova Scotia judgment rejecting his claims in a lawsuit that his health was damaged by heavy metals released in dust during renovations at a local hospital.
Filed by Halifax lawyers George W. MacDonald and Michelle C. Awad, the appeal claims that Supreme Court Justice Douglas L. MacLellan erred by finding that dust was released for a relatively short period of time, MacIntyre was exposed to it for only about one week, heavy metals weren’t released into the air at the hospital as a result of the renovations and the oral surgeon hasn’t suffered from heavy metal toxicity.
MacLellan ruled MacIntyre failed to prove that heavy metals were released in the dust during renovations at the New Waterford Consolidated Hospital where he had an office in 2001, and that the heavy metals were the cause of his medical condition.
MacIntyre, a specialist in complicated oral and maxillofacial surgery, had sued the Cape Breton District Health Authority, which owns the hospital.
During the Supreme Court lawsuit, MacIntyre said he suffered feelings of weakness and disorientation in May 2002 which over time were followed by headaches, crushing pain in his ear, persistent nausea, feelings of rage and withdrawal, tiredness and forgetfulness. He stopped practising in April 2003.
MacDonald said in an interview Monday that his client is making some small improvements in his medical condition but is certainly not able to resume his practice.
The Supreme Court justice noted in his ruling that there had been an estimate of the total loss of MacIntyre’s past and future income of $17.5 million, although MacLellan disagreed with the estimate.
MacDonald expects to be in the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal on March 24 to set a date for the appeal.
The appeal also claimed MacLellan erred when it came to defining and applying the test that the oral surgeon had to satisfy to prove the health authority caused his injuries and damages. The Supreme Court justice also failed to deal with MacIntyre’s claim that the health authority breached its leasing contract by exposing him to hazardous substances including heavy metals and toxic gases, the appeal said.
MacDonald said the reference to gases arise from evidence heard during the trial that an uncapped sewer vent pipe was found inside the wall in MacIntyre’s office at the hospital.
MacLellan also erred by placing the burden of proof on MacIntyre to prove the hazardous materials were present in the hospital while the renovations were going on, when the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires the health authority to determine what hazardous materials were present before starting the renovations, the appeal claimed.
Lawyers for MacIntyre also say the Supreme Court justice was wrong to accept a doctor’s opinion that MacIntyre was always able to practise as an oral surgeon and didn’t suffer from heavy metal toxicity while at the same time ruling that he was correct to decide to cease practising in 2003 and that he couldn’t resume work until 2012.